Last week, I promised four lessons I’ve learned through the years. This first lesson is one I’m still learning – how to Rest in the Lord. If anyone has found a sure-fire, all the time, way to do this, I’d be all ears to hear it. However, the following is a story some of you may have already heard. Yet, it is one I remember over and over again when I feel that I’m overwhelmed and overburdened, uptight and in turmoil, in a whirlwind and exhausted. Here you go – the hardest lesson I’m still learning – how to rest in the Almighty.
The four-wheel ATV was MASSIVE! Michael (my husband) had just two words for it: “Honda” and “Indestructible.” I looked at it with misgivings. Yes, I had told my husband I would ride one, too, and the tour was just getting underway. We hopped on. Well, I climbed on slowly. The guide took us across the street to practice in the parking lot. It wasn’t long (about 15 seconds) until I realized I wasn’t going to be able to handle this rig for two hours up Blackcomb Mountain for a pancake brunch. Come on, now! I can’t even figure out how to ride a bicycle that has gears.
I came to a dead stop and just sat there. Corley, one of the guides, came zooming over and asked, sweetly, “Are you OK?” I replied, “Yes, I’m fine, but I’m not going to be able to do this.” She smiled and gave me the “out” I was wanting, “Do you want to ride on the back of your husband’s machine? Or you could ride on the back with me?” I jumped at the chance, “I’ll ride with you. He hasn’t ever ridden one of these, either.”
She put her backpack on me, helped me get on behind her, told me to just “hang on,” and, away we went.
For a little over an hour, we rode “over hill and dale,” up, up, up. The path was, sometimes, rough, sometimes, through little streams, around big rocks, through beautiful woods. I hung on tightly as we went up the mountain, sometimes, thinking I might fall off the backend of the ATV.
We had our pancake breakfast and began the trek back down the mountain. The path down was different than the one we’d taken up and was much easier to navigate. I didn’t have to cling quite as tightly as on the trip up. I enjoyed myself coming down the mountain as we stopped to see some bears in the field and watch the beauty of the scenery slip by.
Later that afternoon, I began bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t been able to do the ride alone. It was at that moment, I began hearing God’s still small voice speaking to my heart. Here were His words to me:
So, you’re sad you couldn’t do it alone? Give yourself a break, Joanie. I had a lesson I wanted to teach you and there is no way you could have learned it if you’d succeeded driving the ATV yourself. Let me ask you a question. What did you have to do on the ride?
I could easily answer that. All I had to do was get on, hang on tightly, and enjoy the ride. Then, the lesson of the ATV came clear. Corley was the one who knew the destination, I didn’t. She knew how to get there, I didn’t. She knew how to run the machine, I didn’t. She knew how to navigate the path, where the big rocks were, when to shift our weight, how to avoid the biggest dips where the water was flowing. All this and more became clear in my mind.
I had been discussing what true rest in Christ looked like with Him for weeks. He showed me in one short morning what true rest really was and my part in it. In order to rest in Him, all I really have to do is “get on with Him, hang on to Him tightly, and enjoy the ride.” I don’t have to “do” anything. And that has been my problem…doing, doing, doing. When I get overwhelmed, in a whirlwind, up tight…well, it’s time to stop, sidle up to Jesus, tuck in quietly with Him. Let Him do the driving and just breathe, breathe, breathe.
I learned that in order to navigate this life, I need to find my rest in Jesus. I can’t do it alone, and He’s the only one who knows what is ahead. So, from time to time, I remember the lesson of the ATV…Just get on, hang on, and enjoy the ride.